Life Wellbeing Going to sleep late every night? We’ve got bad news for you

Going to sleep late every night? We’ve got bad news for you

People who are genetically predisposed to being night owls carry greater health risks. Photo: Getty
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The early bird gets the worm, as the saying goes.

If you wake up early and seize the day, you’re going to have a greater chance of success in life.

And, as it turns out, there’s some scientific evidence to back that up.

Not only is it better to tuck into bed and wake up early, a study has shown night owls have an increased chance of dying early, plus heightened vulnerability to a range of other illnesses like heart disease.

The study, published in Chronobiology International, suggests people with later body clocks may be suffering from being forced to adjust to a world suited to ‘morning types’.

As part of the study, the researchers asked participants aged 38 to 73 whether they were a morning or night person.

Six years later, they analysed deaths among the group’s members.

Of 433,000 people studied, the self-identified evening people were 10 per cent more likely to die early than their early rising counterparts.

They were also 90 per cent more likely to suffer from a psychological disorder, 30 per cent more likely to be a diabetic, and were more prone to gastrointestinal and neurological disorders.

Part of the reason for this could be a “misalignment between their endogenous biological clocks and the timing of social activities”, the researchers said.

In other words, the body clocks of late risers are out of sync with early birds, so they’re forced to get up early when their body still needs sleep.

This theory is nothing new.

For years, scientists have criticised daylight savings as bad for our health, as the time change is known to disrupt our natural body clock.

“Evening types also commonly experience greater ‘social jet lag’, which is caused by going to bed and waking up later on non-work days compared to work days,” the researchers said.

The findings back up previous research that suggests people who go to sleep later tend to eat more junk food, which could increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases.

Night owls also have a greater tendency to be more impulsive and engage in risky behaviour like drug abuse, compared to early risers.

Late bed times have also been associated with depression and mood disorders, particularly in people older than 50.

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